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Hello Shomi and All

Reader comment on item: Advice to Non-Muslim Women against Marrying Muslim Men
in response to reader comment: United by one, divided by zero ;)

Submitted by Jordana Ghannam-Ahmed (United States), Jan 25, 2020 at 00:19

Salaam Shomi, thank you for the shout out and welcome :) I actually wrote out a fairly lengthy response earlier this afternoon and then just as I went to submit it, my phone died, and 30 secs later when I plugged it in and opened my internet window, of COURSE I lost the entire contents of my original post (*face plant*). Lol but anyways I've just put the littles to bed and now have time to re-respond. And yes, you are correct I did quite a bit of posting here in years prior; my last pregnancy was taxing, our home construction seemed like it would never end, and my older kids started sports and I returned to work outside the home FT, but FINALLY things have slowed to a normal Tempo giving me some down time to catch up on things :) (plus I've been at home relegated to bed and very light duties much of the last week or so with a diagnosis of internal shingles virus, so i very quickly grew tired of watching TV and the usual outlets, so I'm glad to be back and see what's good on the Daniel pipes "DNT Marry an Egyptian" forum (that what my husband calls it lol). But you're correct also that I was raised primarily in Minneapolis USA, my family is from Damascus syria and were granted political asylum in USA in 1984, I have four brothers, my dad is Sunni Muslims my mom is syrian orthodox Christian (interfaith marriages are VERY commonplace in Syria, and even in Egypt and the west bank where I would be engaged/married/live and where some of my dad's side of the family would later live. It's perfectly acceptable for Muslim men to marry a Jewish or Christian woman, both islamically speaking and socially/culturally. Despite what many people believe, Religion matters far less there than it does in the USA it anywhere in the secular west. If a Muslim man tells you that he cannot marry a non Muslim, or that his family will not permit or whatever, this is bull$@?! Okay? If he tells you that you just convert before marriage or pressures conversion as part of the terms of the relationship or for any reason, you can and should disqualify him for that alone. My brother is a PhD in Islamic theology and jurisprudence and is also an Imam, he is also conservative, comparatively speaking and he will confirm that this is total nonsense and is simply not true. No islamically correct and morally upright self respecting Muslim-man or woman-wuld ever try to "convert" someone or use conversion as a deal-breaker or non negotiable requirement for a relationship or marriage. This is against the Quran and against Islam that anyone should enter the faith not of their own free will and having been called to it. That should be true of any religion imo. Anyways just an FYI about that). I am a physicians assistant (PA) by profession, a mother of 4, and a wife-my husband is Egyptian, and practices law. I would say by and large I tend to agree with most who post cautionary advise on here; with the only exception being in regards to perhaps a very prejudicial or islamophobic way of thinking and mindset. Of course coming from western women of diverse but secular backgrounds and with little experience with Muslims or Islamic culture other than what you read of it in the news (which is nearly all bad press, islamist extremism and miscreants have hijacked our religion and given us a terrible image problem to overcome), this is not entirely surprising. I try to share my thoughts and the reality that truly not all MENA men are a certain kind of way, just like all western women aren't morally bankrupt and promiscuous, and Islam is not a restrictive or repressive faith that subjugates women, but rather, neither the Bible or the Quran teaches or permits these things in any way shape or form and much of what is purportedly found in the Quran (if you go off what the media says) is patently false but people believe it because they've way to dispute it; they've never read the Quran, they probably even don't know anyone personally who has! The reality is, those kind of ignorant and backwards beliefs and behavior towards women or anyone who doesn't subscribe to a very rigid and hypocritical version of a religion and the people who practice them are found in ALL religions across the board, the type of things and behavior from men discussed on thisbforum are not exclusive to Islam and could be just as easily perpetrated by a Christian as it's based in the culture and upbringing and not a religion. Even in the west there is our own version of that, like we see for example with the FDLS Mormon sects who practice polygamy and child marriage and sexual abuse among other things. Many Christian denominations have their insular little pockets of extreme and false practices in the USA which I won't get into in detail as it's neither here nor there. Also I want women to know though that there is a high probability that their MENA love interest is a low rent opportunist and they are endemic in the middle East, Egypt being a particularly hot spot for this phenomena. (especially given the means and method By which they will most likely have met this guy, which is typically online, initiated by the guy, sometimes unsolicited and other times via a dating platform, progresses quickly, and doesn't allow either party to truly see the whole picture of the other person: who they are, their current socioeconomic status and that of their upbringing, their education and awareness level, their interests, sense of humor, friends and dynamic of close relationships and family, their religious and social beliefs and conduct, goals for the future and expectations, even their appearance! Also when you "meet" someone under the pretense of dating right off the bat, there is the risk and reality of attracting some bad fish into the net who seek to exploit even the smallest vulnerabilities.) And anyone could be victim to it; being young and attractive isn't necessarily a defense against it. A woman might be the victim of previous abuse of any/all types, she might be recently divorced or on the rebound from a long term or very meaningful relationship that she didn't expect to end, she may have children and find dating to be challenging, she may be overweight or self conscious of her appearance and looks, she may be dealing with low self worth and feel unworthy of a high standard and expectations from a man-those things make it easier for them to do their thing and work these women over but they aren't like a textbook prerequisite. Like I said, just like not all MENA men are a Mohamed or an Azan, not every woman is a Danielle or Nicole either. It's just those ones make the best TV and fit the stereotypical mold. I've been contacted on my personal email from several girls over the years asking for advice and personally discuss their relationship or potential relationship with MENA men-some American girls, others European, and I was glad they felt comfortable and trusted me enough to share with me the details of their situation and that perhaps I could shed some light on it for them. Of course in every case I've had tell them the inevitable: he's a bad Apple, throw him away. But aside from that I tried to explain to them exactly WHY he is a bad Apple, and to see all his actions and behavior for what it really is, from the eyes of someone more skilled in understanding them and from their culture. I advise them, look, he may SAY this or that, and talk a good game, but he's failed like every basic tenet of decency in his own culture and he's taking his s$?!!@ game over to foreign girls and hitting the jackpot because y'all aren't holding dude to the same standard, your blinded by infatuation and hold him to the same standard as a western guy, and thats like comparing apples to oranges, if anything ever was. They couldn't conduct themselves that way towards a girl in their own country, no decent respectable forward thinking progressive girl would have him! Bc we see them coming a mile away. I've actually met and remained good friend with and a mentor to a young girl I met on here, several years back, she, of course, was in great denial and very much in love in an unhealthy and unreciprocated way, and is quite young (Im 34; she in her very early 20s) and she did not follow my advise and words of wisdom, and, unsurprisingly, things went exactly as I'd warned her, and he'd turns out to be nothing short of a grade A douche&$@. And now she's lost several years of her life, physical intimacy, money, time, etc. That coidkve been better spent doing almost anything at all. And she's a gorgeous girl-i mean, she could have her pick in her own country, shed be a catch to damn near anyone, all my American guy friends think she's the finest honey lol and her MENA guy? He wasnt even average looking by American OR middle eastern standards lol. I would've thought with how poor his personality and conduct was, he'd have to be the sexiest man alive to compensate, but it just goes to show, they don't all fit a particular stereotype or idea of who and what a shady opportunistic catfish love scam abusive different culture couple might look like or who they might be. I really hope she can become confidant and secure in being alone and really find herself and then be ready when the right guy enters her life to love him but to never forget to love herself first. That's what I would hope for anyone, and I would advise to any ladies second guessing their relationship on here. I when you're asking yourself if your relationship has an inequality in the balance of power and may not be authentic, I think the answer is in the question-you already know the answer. Now I'll never bash my culture as a whole or my husbands culture because of course, there ARE good ones, and I seem to have married a great one after all. But this "thing" this $!@? That MENA guys do, the THIRST is real my friends; it's real and it's well known and discussed in the MENA social culture. In Egypt it's sooooo well known and so prolific that it's embarrassing and shameful to all the normal Egyptians out there just trynna get a date or trynna NOT be a sheisty con artist. This type of thing is NOT openly accepted or tolerated among ANY of my family or friends in Cairo or Damascus. If a guy so much as smelled of such activities, he'd be ridiculed and shamed. It would never be openly admitted to or made known to anyone who wasn't most definitely of the same low moral code and complicit in the activity of scamming/using/playing/abusing/leading on/lying/etc to these women. Meaning that you don't see guys from decent families disapproving of such things typically going out and perpetrating them; it is as unacceptable to them as to their family and they'd be disowned and get the stuffing kicked out of them for acting so uncouth. Now lower class families may have one standard for whom is acceptable for their son, but also be limitlessly opportunistic and greedy and therefore willing to aid and abet their son/brother/friend/cousin in their game, if there is a potential to benefit them. Family is very much immeshed together and if one is struggling everyone struggles with them and in Egypt in particular the financial situation is such that families demand such unrealistic dowrys and marriage terms that in turn many families cannot afford to marry their sons and to cicumvent that issue among other potential benefits, they can marry a foreign girl, a western girl to whom the Egyptian pound means little more than Monopoly money and who doesn't understand the ins and outs of a typical marriage contract and obligations due to her and rights belonging to her. That's another thing, among so many more. There is really so much I can say about it that I haven't the ability to cover it all in one post, but truly it is gross and I can't say enough to exercise extreme caution and do not become an achievement to some green card hungrey sexually repressed and immature uneducated and unpromising Egyptian tourist industry worker (that's another stereotype lol btw right there but also one that has firm origins in reality). That's all for now :)

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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